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Fall 2014 arrived with gentle weather conditions and sparkling clear water. The sight-fishing for trout and redfish on the inside flats was excellent, and the big Spanish mackerel were very active on the grass beds of Santa Rosa Sound. The annual "Running of the Bulls" started on November 3, and the big redfish crushed baitfish on the surface until early-December. Once this incredible phenomen starts it's hard to focus on anything else. We hope you enjoy the photos from another terrific fall. Double-click on the thumbnails for full-screen photos. For photos from previous seasons, click on the links to these additional galleries: Summer 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2014, :Fall 2013, Summer 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2013, Fall 2012, Spring 2012, Winter 2012, Fall 2011, Summer 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2011, Fall 2010, Summer 2010, Spring 2010, Winter 2010, Fall 2009,Summer 2009, Spring 2009, Winter 2009, Fall 2008, Summer 2008, Spring 2008, Winter 2008, Fall 2007, Summer 2007, Spring 2007, Winter 2007, Fall 2006, Summer 2006, Spring 2006, Winter 2006, Spring 2005, Summer 2005, Fall 2005. Use the back button on your browser to return to this page.

 
London's Mike Youkee saved the day September 21 with a nice trout caught and released on a shallow sand flat close to Navarre Beach.
Rhad Hayden on October 1 with a 27" redfish caught while sight-fishing with ultra-light spinning tackle and released unharmed in Santa Rosa Sound.

 

 

Mark McCulla, Maindeville, LA, with a "bust your knuckles" Spanish mackerel on October 2. These huge Spanish annihilate the fly and accelerate away at incredible speeds. You can hear the fly line sizzling as it throws up a 10" roostertail.
October 2 was a big day for James Irons from Ireland with his first redfish on fly. The water was ideal for sight-fishing, and this redfish was eager to take James' EP grey/white baitfish. Florida Panhandle "bonefishing" at its best...
It was a breezy morning on October 3 for Steve and Darlis Duecker, but the wind was from the north making the Gulf of Mexico nice and flat. We found some ladyfish close to shore west of Pensacola Pass and Steve caught them on fly while Darlis "put it on them" with a topwater Mirrolure "Top Pup" with the barbs mashed down.
Nice shot of Darlis showcasing the incredibly beautiful water. Did I mention it was windy??
A few days later on October 6 Steve landed and released his first redfish on fly...
Great shot of Ken Smith from Oklahoma City with his first redfish landed on fly ...
...and released in the crystal-clear waters of Santa Rosa Sound.
Jay Brykczynski was the man of the hour with a fine Spanish mackerel on October 10.
Jay landed his first-ever pompano on fly while blind-casting for Spanish. Some guys have all the luck...
John Brasher on October 17 after getting his arms yanked off with a bad-to-the-bone Spanish mackerel caught on fly. We were anchored along a grass bed with John taking pot shots at the Spanish as they cruised the edge.
Joel Howard, Amarillo, TX, with a nice Spanish on October 20.
Pat Nelms from St Louis had a blast October 22 catching and releasing Spanish mackerel around Pensacola Pass.
Greg Hawley from Birmingham was in town October 27, and we started the day casting clouser minnows for Spanish mackerel.

Later on we got lucky and found some beautiful redfish in shallow water just outside Pensacola Pass. There was a strong incoming current, and we anchored short of the fish and drifted the fly to them. We tried numerous flies and finally got one to eat a chartreuse/white "half and half". Three more fish took that same fly over the next hour, and Greg landed two of them. This first fish weighed 25#.

Here's Greg with the second fish that weighed in at 23#. As you can imagine both were incredible fights on a brand new Sage "ONE" 9wt. Can't think of a better way to have broken it in! Of course the fish were released unharmed.
Alicia McCormick won the fly club's annual auction fishing trip, and we decided to go on Halloween. Conditions were spectacular, and Alicia caught big Spanish mackerel until her hands were sore. Husband Terry took this photo. It turned out to be an expensive trip for the McCormicks because Alicia had so much fun they decided to buy a boat...
Bruce Trumbull was baaaack on November 3 hoping to catch the "running of the bulls", and his timing was perfect. The big fish came to the top that day marking the official beginning of the annual phenomenon. Incredible, Bruce... how did you know??
Bruce with another beautifully colored redfish in the 22-24 pound range.
Tom Stucker from Northern California was also back in town looking for the bulls the following day, and what a day it was! Tom landed five monsters on one of his own fly creations... Double click on the photo for a nice closeup of this magnificent redfish.
Here's Tom with redfish #5. THAT's what I'm talking about!
Tom brought the family out for some redfish action on November 5, and we finally found the fish late in the day. Here's expert angler Jenny Stucker with her first redfish of the day. The fish hadn't yet come to the surface, and Jenny was closely watching the bottom machine for signs of fish. We marked fish, and she had her jig in the water five seconds later. Very impressive.

Later in the afternoon school after school of bull reds came to the top, and Jenny caught all she wanted. Here's a cool shot of her and an unusually spotted redfish.

Cynthia Stucker was right in the thick of things landing numerous redfish of this quality.
Tom had been sitting back enjoying watching Jenny and Cynthia all afternoon, but right before dark they coaxed him to get out his fly rod. How about this for a family photo! It was a terrific ending to a spectacular day of fishing.
Kent Gilliland from Birmingham had never fished for redfish until November 7. The fish were sporadically coming to the surface and then going down, so Kent started blind-casting Tom Stucker's redfish fly in an area where we'd been seeing fish. The water was about 6-7' deep and a little murky from intense menhaden activity. Tom's chartreuse fly had some UV fibers in the flash and lit up beautifully riding a couple feet below the surface. The redfish appeared out of nowhere charging the fly. Kent missed the strip-set a few times before connecting with this trophy. Double click the photo for a full view.
Another of Kent's redfish from later in the day. It was a breakthrough day for Kent! Poor guy, he'll never be the same...
Ben Walters from Eastern Fly Outfitters, Johnson City, TN, arranged a two-boat bull redfish charter for his clients November 10-13. Between the two boats we landed 78 redfish and some other very cool species over the four days. Here's a good shot of Chris Jenkins with his first catch of the trip...a rare "no spot" redfish on a picture-perfect glassy-calm November 10.
Chris' fishing buddy Ben Blevins with his first fish of the day...also with no spots. Had to check the two photos very closely to be sure they weren't the same fish!
Ben with a late-in-the-day redfish reflecting the setting sun...
The final catch November 10 for Chris...his fourth of the day.
We found the fish relatively early on November 11. This is Ben Blevins with his second catch of the morning.
Chris Jenkins with his second redfish on November 11.
When the redfish action slowed down around mid-day we ran out in the Gulf of Mexico about 8 miles SE of Pensacola to a wreck in 75' of water. We were hoping to tease the amberjacks to the surface and switch them to flies...which worked well for Ben Blevins! That's a lot of AJ on a 10wt fly rod...
Ben Walters, owner of Eastern Fly Outfitters, was fishing on the other boat with Capt Eddie Woodall when two mahi-mahi appeared under the boat... a huge fish and a big fish. The big one took the fly, and Ben landed and released it. As you'd expect the huge one drifted down and out of sight... Double click for the full view of this spectacularly beautiful mahi.
November 12 was our best day for the bull redfish. There was a front coming in that night, and we were fishing the "calm before the storm". It was warm with glassy-calm water and fish everywhere. Chris and Ben got into double digits with the redfish that day. Here's Chris with fish #3.
And Ben with redfish #4...a cool orange-colored fish.
We took a mid-day redfish break and ran back out in the Gulf where Chris landed this "smoker" king mackerel before having his rod explode when a shark ate the amberjack he'd been fighting for a half hour...
"Last-light" redfish at the end of a fun-packed November 12. It was almost too dark to get the photo without a flash. This was Ben's sixth redfish that day. It's "Miller Time", boys...
What a difference a day makes! On November 13 the front was on us, and we fished in howling northerly winds and rain all day. The fish didn't seem to mind... Nice job, Chris.
Ben Blevins with one of two redfish landed November 13. Casting was almost impossible, but Ben did a great job getting the fly to the fish without hooking himself, Chris, or worse yet...the guide.
It was cold and windy the next day, but at least it wasn't raining. Rick Lutkus was in town from Crete, IL, and we were the only boat on the water. We found the "Mother Lode" of redfish in the vicinity of the Old Coast Guard Station, and it was GAME ON! Seems like Rick landed 15 redfish of this quality before we called it quits. That's over 300 pounds of redfish caught-and-released unharmed. Here's a link to short a YouTude video of the melee... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cj5GrZmnxhM
Whoa, look who it is! Ken Hutchison from Nampa, ID, just had to get a little more of the "Running of the Bulls" again this year. He and Greg Fisher made their annual sojourn, and their timing was perfect...at least for the first day November 19. Here's Hutch with the first of many redfish landed that day.
Hutch with his second redfish of the day...on his way to double-digits on fly.
Greg Fisher, Nampa, ID, with his first of fifteen redfish landed and released November 19...
Hutch with a late-afternoon redfish by the 3 Mile Bridge. The fish were so stacked up that Hutch was hooking one every cast on a chartreuse/white go-meaux that he tied. We finally solved the problem by going to a popper, and he didn't catch another fish. Now there's some fine guiding...
Greg with a lovely multi-spotted redfish late in the day on November 19.
We'd caught so many redfish on November 19 that we decided to leave them alone the next day and go deep...8 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico. Greg Fisher had his hands full with this amberjack that crushed a big topwater plug. Check out the surreal, glassy water.
The best Hutch could come up with on fly was this "barely-legal" false albacore. Not much of a challenge on his 12wt, but it was the first FA on fly in months.
November 24 was a big day for local ER doc Tom Zavoral. "Z" missed five "takes" before finally landing this beauty...his first-ever "Running of the Bulls" redfish on fly. He gave the missed opportunities some serious contemplation (better strip-strike technique, improved barbless hook handling of big fish when they charge the boat, etc) and as you'll see came back with a vengeance a few days later...
We tucked back in a bayou to get out of the wind on a cold November 25, and Mike Ellis saved the day by landing and releasing this nice speckled trout.
Dave and Connie O'Shea, Minot, ND, were in town November 26 and the conditions were perfect for some wide-open redfish fishing. They landed over a dozen fish between them. Here's a nice shot of Dave with a healthy 15 pounder.
This was Connie's first time experiencing the thrill of sight-casting to boiling redfish, and she loved it. She casts like a pro, fights the fish like a pro, and may have gotten into double-digits. What's not to like...
"Z" did some serious redfish butt-kicking on his return trip December 3. This time there were no missed strip-strikes and he landed all but one of his hooked fish.
And he even brought along a witness...Tom Waier...who landed redfish after redfish on spinning gear while "Z" was catching them on fly.
Z with redfish #2...
Another fine catch for Tom Waier
Yes, he was THE MAN that day...Z with redfish #5.
The only thing missing is the "Let's Fish" shirt! What's up with that, Wade? Wade Knight , Tigertown, TX, with his first redfish of the morning December 4. We were 5 minutes from the dock when the fish started exploding on the surface. Wade and his fishing buddy Tom Moodie pounced on the opportunity.
Tom Moodie with the first of many redfish landed and released unharmed on December 4.
Hard to improve on it! Wade doing his thing later in the day...
Tom with another beauty...
Spencer Ross brought his buddies Jamie and Gene Harrell to town on December 5 which turned out to be the last day of the "Running of the Bulls" for 2014. How did you know, Spencer? It was a killer day...perfect weather and lots of fish. Everyone was whipped at the end of the day when the smoke settled. Here's a nice shot of Spencer with his first fish of the day.
Jamie Harrell with his first catch. The action got too hot to take time for photos. We were releasing the fish off of barbless hooks without bringing them into the boat.
Gene Harrell right in the thick of things on December 5...
Brothers Dave and Mark Walters were here a few days later on December 9, and the bull reds were nowhere to be found in Pensacola Bay. So we got creative and looked for them in the Gulf of Mexico along the edge of the beach. It was a chilly day with a north wind, and the Gulf was as pretty as it gets. We were the only boat there, and it wasn't long before we found a nice bunch of fish just outside the inner sandbar. How about starting off the day with a double for the Walters boys! Mark was using ultra-light spinning gear, and Dave landed the big fish on his 8wt.
Mark Walters with his biggest fish of the day. Check out the water color and clarity...
Dave coaxed this 27 pounder by speeding up the strip on his chartreuse/white worm fly. Double click for a nice closeup view.
December 10 was calm enough to take the skiff, and we poled along the shoreline looking for fish.We found them, but man were they tough. Dave had the fly in the middle of the school numerous times before this monster ate it. Double click for the full view.
Brother Mark standing on the bow of the skiff with a redfish reflecting the afternoon sun. Notice how the fish along the edge of the Gulf are much lighter than those we catch up in the bay (scroll up to December 5). When these huge fish drop into 8' of water they are so well camouflaged they "disappear" against the sandy bottom.

Two days later fellow guide Mel Rojko, Breckenridge, Colorado, was on the boat on her birthday. Armed with the knowledge from the previous trips we were confident Mel might just land her first bull redfish. But of course the fish were much harder to find than expected. We headed east and finally found a relatively small school of maybe 30 redfish close to Battery Langdon. They were moving eastbound, so we got ahead of them and set up. But when they got close enough to sense the boat they changed direction and headed back to the west. We fired up the motor, circled around the school, anchored on the bar, and waited for them to get into range. But once again when they were just outside of casting range the school bolted. After trying the same technique two or three more times the fish came into range, and Mel made a nice cast hooking up immediately. Man, what a relief! She was thrilled, and the reel was singing. All was good until the line went limp... Sadly she reeled in only to find that the blood knot had failed at the 20# to 15# connection.

There is nothing worse for a guide. Mel thought the fish had broken the line, but I confessed and showed her the "pigtail". Crestfallen is a pretty good word to describe my mood, but Mel was upbeat as ever. She was looking forward to hooking another one...a feat I thought was remote at best. I mean seriously, this was the only school of fish out there, and they'd seen us maybe five times already... But we continued doing the maneuver as the fish headed to the west. Three times Mel got takes but missed the hookset. Finally she hooked up again. This time I had kept the leader at 20#, and she put as much heat on that fish as her 100 pounds allowed. Thirty-five minutes later she landed the redfish, and it was a major hog, bottoming out my 30# bogagrip! Here are photos of Mel holding and releasing the fish. Do yourself a favor if you're ever in the Brekenridge area book a trip with Mel. You won't be disappointed. www.mountainangler.com
Mel's dad, retired Marine Biologist Art Rojko, was with us on the skiff witnessing all the action. Here they are together at the end of a very special day. This photo is the perfect ending to a terrific fall season.

 

Itís always a great day on the water with Gulf Breeze Guide Service!

Gulf Breeze Guide Service
P.O. Box 251
Gulf Breeze, Florida 32562-0251 (USA)
Tel: 850.934.3292 or 850.261.9035 (cell)
Email:
gbgsfishing@aol.com

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